Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

My curiosity in this question is based on towing with my '16 Touring AWD model w/9spd and factory towing package. I moved up to a Geo Pro 19BH travel trailer that loaded is about 4000-4300lbs I suspect. Dry weight is 3200lbs and my measured loaded tongue weight is 425-450lbs using a weigh safe scale. I need to get it weighed on our way to a trip soon. My Pilot has 94k miles and still going strong, do fluid changes much sooner than required since towing.

With a headwind I am at 55mph and just under 4000rpm in 4th gear. This along with the small fuel tank prompted me to look into upgrading my tow vehicle except, ya know I just really love this thing and spending +$50k on a mid spec 4x4 half ton truck seems like a ton of money. Almost rather just go 3/4 ton over 1/2 ton with these prices but that is just getting too deep into the rabbit hole. I really would like to be payment free. If the Pilot v6 can handle sustained 4000rpm trips then really I can deal with 55mph.

This really is a worst case scenario, for good portions of all my trips so far I can do 5th gear and 62-65mph at less than 3500rpm. There have been trips this winter though where I was at 55mph and that 3900rpm range for about 100miles at a time. I was not too worried then considering ambient temps were 40-50F. Come summer and 100F days, that is my concern.

I have yet to tow in the hot summer months but so far trans and water temps are great. Last trip ambient was in the 84F range with temps in great shape. I just do not know what the engine oil temp is so that is the concern with sustained 4000rpm on a non-high performance vehicle.

The 9 speed seems less of a concern if oil temps are good. It seems the version used in the Pilot is rated for 450ft lb torque which seems solid for the Pilot.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,434 Posts
I'd get another vehicle to tow with if your going to continue to tow that kind of weight.
Hopefully I'm not the one who buys your used Pilot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd get another vehicle to tow with if your going to continue to tow that kind of weight.
Hopefully I'm not the one who buys your used Pilot.
lol totally expected to hear that response from you based on your post here but don't worry the Pilot is a keeper. The eventual truck would be an addition to the lineup. What is pressuring this decision is that my wife's Escape lease is up soon and I think I want to make the move for an F150/250 but at the same time, do not want to spend that money unless we really need to. Man, even with $20k down, a $60k truck payment is still high at 48mo and don't want a 72mo payment either. Used truck prices are through the roof right now too.

Luxury vs necessity is what I am trying to figure out.
 

·
Administrator
2016 CRV Touring AWD, 2005 Pilot RIP.
Joined
·
16,328 Posts
Half ton trucks like the F150 continue to be in short supply. If you can wait say six months or so, the chip shortage prices improve. The lack of new vehicles has also triggered a big increase in used values. Wait a year, however, and you might have to replace the timing belt which is $$$.

To few people weigh their combination loaded so it's good that you are paying attention to weight. Also pleased to read you follow a more aggressive ATF fluid change regime. That's the way to keep everything happy.

There are plenty of people especially in the Ridgeline world towing your weights and more. So I say, enjoy your ride a little longer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,434 Posts
The 3900 rpm in 4th gear for 100 miles give the answer. It's just not the right vehicle for the job. It's doing it, but for how long? Yeah, I have little faith that it can keep doing it.
Is there any way to lighten the load?
Remove furniture and use an aluminum lawn chair. Anything to give some relief.
 
  • Like
Reactions: The Todd

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,293 Posts
If it were me, I'd be looking to upgrade to something with an engine and trans that are less stressed under that load. You are within the design parameters and IMO Honda engines are happy to rev all day and last a long time that way but an understressed V8 would be much more relaxing.

Not as much money but much more capable tow vehicles include:

  1. Colorado/Canyon diesel
  2. Durango V8 (R/T or whatever other trims had the V8)
  3. Grand Cherokee V8
  4. Most Land Rovers
  5. Maybe a Ranger with the turbo 4 will be happier at lower RPM?

Full size pickups are the most obvious choice but they are SO expensive around here and with 3 kids I don't know that I'll ever have one again, I prefer to move to a Suburban over a Silverado.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DaBattMn and awd.nv

·
Registered
Joined
·
761 Posts
As long as you are in the rated range I think I’d try it. Maybe grab an obd2 scanner and read the temps if you’re concerned. You can buy a lot of transmissions for the price of a new truck. It shouldn’t hurt the engine running a few extra revs as long as you have the airflow through the radiator to keep it cool.
 

·
Administrator
2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
Joined
·
4,872 Posts
The thing is, the Pilot can pull 10K. It's not rated for 10K but it will pull 10K and more. It's not a matter of what it can pull, rather it is a matter of what is being done to the Pilots engine, transmission, differential and suspension because of what you are pulling.

We all heard as kids the story of the Little Engine That Could. What no one ever bothered to tell you is what happened to the Little Engine after it did........

147908




I would rather pull a 4500-5000 lb boat behind a Pilot
147909


Then I would a 4000-4500 lb trailer that's shaped something like this.

147910


The wind resistance is far greater with the trailer than it is on the boat.

That is why for all of the years I have been towing I have made sure that my towing vehicle is far more equipped to do the job than what I am asking it to do. Sometimes I pushing up against the recommended 80% towing capacity, but I never push it to the full capacity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
761 Posts
I've always towed with cars typically not even rated for towing - Mazda RX-7 (Turbo even, who doesn't love hearing the blow off valve release at the top of the boat ramp?), Nissan Maxima, Acura Integra, and IS300. I two heavy jet skis on a heavy trailer with my IS300. Used it like that for 15 years now including some longer road trips and everything else. Yes, I maintained the trans fluid well. Yes the car still drives fine @ 237k miles on the original <everything> despite all I've put it through.
 

·
Registered
2008 Piot SE FWD, 2015 Pilot LX 4WD. 2005 GSX-R1000
Joined
·
2,185 Posts
I've always towed with cars typically not even rated for towing - Mazda RX-7 (Turbo even, who doesn't love hearing the blow off valve release at the top of the boat ramp?), Nissan Maxima, Acura Integra, and IS300. I two heavy jet skis on a heavy trailer with my IS300. Used it like that for 15 years now including some longer road trips and everything else. Yes, I maintained the trans fluid well. Yes the car still drives fine @ 237k miles on the original <everything> despite all I've put it through.
Nice,
and 2 jet ski's and the trailer were, what less than 2K #'s total?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
761 Posts
With fuel the skis were 900 each and the trailer probably around 450. Its an all aluminum trailer, but pretty large. Either way car is “not recommended for towing” but its pulled that tons and whatever else I needed it to tow... like a big wood chipper a few times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,775 Posts
My curiosity in this question is based on towing with my '16 Touring AWD model w/9spd and factory towing package. I moved up to a Geo Pro 19BH travel trailer that loaded is about 4000-4300lbs I suspect.

My Pilot has 94k miles and still going strong, do fluid changes much sooner than required since towing.

With a headwind I am at 55mph and just under 4000rpm in 4th gear.

This really is a worst case scenario, for good portions of all my trips so far I can do 5th gear and 62-65mph at less than 3500rpm. There have been trips this winter though where I was at 55mph and that 3900rpm range for about 100miles at a time. I was not too worried then considering ambient temps were 40-50F. Come summer and 100F days, that is my concern.

I have yet to tow in the hot summer months but so far trans and water temps are great. Last trip ambient was in the 84F range with temps in great shape. I just do not know what the engine oil temp is so that is the concern with sustained 4000rpm on a non-high performance vehicle.

The 9 speed seems less of a concern if oil temps are good. It seems the version used in the Pilot is rated for 450ft lb torque which seems solid for the Pilot.
About how long are your trips when you are towing that trailer?
Out of the total mileage on your Pilot, about what percentage has been while towing?
At what intervals are you changing the motor oil, transmission fluid and rear differential fluid?
What motor oil are you using?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Half ton trucks like the F150 continue to be in short supply. If you can wait say six months or so, the chip shortage prices improve. The lack of new vehicles has also triggered a big increase in used values. Wait a year, however, and you might have to replace the timing belt which is $$$.

To few people weigh their combination loaded so it's good that you are paying attention to weight. Also pleased to read you follow a more aggressive ATF fluid change regime. That's the way to keep everything happy.

There are plenty of people especially in the Ridgeline world towing your weights and more. So I say, enjoy your ride a little longer.
Ya know, I just joined a facebook group for the travel trailers I have and man, a lot of ridgeline owners out there towing. Some of them with trailers even larger than mine and that 6 speed is prone to over heat.

The 3900 rpm in 4th gear for 100 miles give the answer. It's just not the right vehicle for the job. It's doing it, but for how long? Yeah, I have little faith that it can keep doing it.
Is there any way to lighten the load?
Remove furniture and use an aluminum lawn chair. Anything to give some relief.
Yeah no doubt that is why I am in here asking, I do not like the idea of being at that RPM for so long but I did not have knowledge of how the internals look on these new Honda engines. Having said that, I started looking up Honda V6 teardown videos and the maincaps look very beefy, at least on what seems like a slightly older variation of the Pilot motor. The engine internals do not look bad at all. The crank maincaps were what I was most curious about and they sure are very beefy. I am starting to feel a little better about this all.

If it were me, I'd be looking to upgrade to something with an engine and trans that are less stressed under that load. You are within the design parameters and IMO Honda engines are happy to rev all day and last a long time that way but an understressed V8 would be much more relaxing.

Not as much money but much more capable tow vehicles include:

  1. Colorado/Canyon diesel
  2. Durango V8 (R/T or whatever other trims had the V8)
  3. Grand Cherokee V8
  4. Most Land Rovers
  5. Maybe a Ranger with the turbo 4 will be happier at lower RPM?

Full size pickups are the most obvious choice but they are SO expensive around here and with 3 kids I don't know that I'll ever have one again, I prefer to move to a Suburban over a Silverado.
Man, I hear ya on the kids haha. Yeah that is why I really would like a good 2yrs without car payments haha. I like the idea of the GM baby diesel they use in the Canyon, think best in class with 370lbft of tq. Ranger owners seem to like them as tow vehicles in forums. I spoke to someone at the Costco gas line who was hooked up to their travel trailer, guessing it was something in the 22-24' range and they said it towed great.

Problem in researching towing is that nearly everyone does their tow test with aerodynamic trailers. Youtube's TFL with that aero horse trailer and Truck King with a flatbed with weight on it. I will sat Truck King does use a travel trailer sometimes but they are not anywhere as scientific as TFL. Wish I could test drive with my trailer hooked up lol.

As long as you are in the rated range I think I’d try it. Maybe grab an obd2 scanner and read the temps if you’re concerned. You can buy a lot of transmissions for the price of a new truck. It shouldn’t hurt the engine running a few extra revs as long as you have the airflow through the radiator to keep it cool.
Thanks, I use a Scan Gauge ii to monitor temps. It will be interesting how the Pilot does when it is over 100F. We are going to Utah soon and temps should at least be in the 90F range. So far all good on our last trip which was in the 80s.

About how long are your trips when you are towing that trailer?
Out of the total mileage on your Pilot, about what percentage has been while towing?
At what intervals are you changing the motor oil, transmission fluid and rear differential fluid?
What motor oil are you using?
So far all our trips have been in the 100-180mile range but we will have some pushing 300 miles in the summer. I did not start towing in the Pilot till about 85k miles and now I am at 94k. Maybe 1500 miles of towing so far but before the current trailer our other one was a lot smaller (Nobo 10.6).

If I tow within that oil change period I do a fresh oil change before my trip if I am at 50% or less. Then, I do another oil change when I hit 50% again. I try to do the engine oil changes very often especially since they are so cheap to do.

In the 94k miles, I have done 3 trans fluid changes so far. I did the last one right before we purchased our first trailer in the 80k mile range at which time we installed the trans cooler before ever putting a trailer on our hitch. I will probably start doing them twice a year now that I am towing. Cheap insurance. Diff is done at the same time as the trans fluid and I just did the transfer case at the 93k mile mark.

Basically, I do the fluids more often than the manual even before towing because I would take the Pilot on trails and we also get hammered in Vegas with summer temps being so high.

Shoot, even did the timing belt in the 80k mile range. I really try to stay on top of all the maintenance because I am harder on the Pilot than most I am sure.
 

·
Administrator
2016 CRV Touring AWD, 2005 Pilot RIP.
Joined
·
16,328 Posts
On atf temps, there are too many people who just hammer down and go, regardless of temp. So with a scan gage, you'll know where your temps are, and can ease off if they get too high, which is not something a lot of people do. Plan b is always taking a break to allow everything to cool down.
In 2019 I think Toyota deleted the Atf cooler from the Tundra. Plenty of concerned people out there about higher temps, but I guess synthetic atf has a broader temp range than traditional atf.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,775 Posts
Shoot, even did the timing belt in the 80k mile range. I really try to stay on top of all the maintenance because I am harder on the Pilot than most I am sure.
Good that you've already had the timing belt replaced.
Before the maintenance minder was introduced, Honda recommended timing belt changes every 60K miles if the vehicle is used for towing.
Also, note that Honda recommends rear differential fluid changes every 7,500 miles and to not exceed 55 mph when towing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
On atf temps, there are too many people who just hammer down and go, regardless of temp. So with a scan gage, you'll know where your temps are, and can ease off if they get too high, which is not something a lot of people do. Plan b is always taking a break to allow everything to cool down.
In 2019 I think Toyota deleted the Atf cooler from the Tundra. Plenty of concerned people out there about higher temps, but I guess synthetic atf has a broader temp range than traditional atf.
True, pulling over is always an option. Each time I tow this trailer I get used to the slower pace so who knows, I may just adjust my expectations to match what the Pilot offers. The smaller trailer I could do the legal 75mph in Utah so it has been a transition. Mentally got in my mind that maybe the Pilot is not capable but in reality, 55mph-65mph seems to be what even guys with full size trucks are happy with.

Good that you've already had the timing belt replaced.
Before the maintenance minder was introduced, Honda recommended timing belt changes every 60K miles if the vehicle is used for towing.
Also, note that Honda recommends rear differential fluid changes every 7,500 miles and to not exceed 55 mph when towing.
Good to know on the diff fluid. I just located it in the manual, says first 7500miles then 15,000 miles for towing.....which puts me close to the time to do the diff again since I think I am at about 10k miles since the last one. I think people sometimes under estimate how good fluids help things last.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,293 Posts
Honestly, I have never really heard of catastrophic J series engine failure and people have been towing heavy and working them hard in performance cars and SUVs for 25-30 years now. IMO it is a fantastic engine when maintained properly. Does it have quirks, sure. VCM has caused some top end rebuilds but it's easily deactivated. The VTEC solenoid gasket can eventually leak. The early DI versions had injector issues and a few people have had carbon buildup on the intake valves. But overall, the engine is fantastic and loves to rev and with VCM deactivated and a quality oil and filter being used I have no doubt the engine will be fine.

The transmissions have been a weak point. The early 5 speeds were absolute junk. In the gen 1.5 refresh and gen 2 they fixed the issues and it's apparently very reliable. The 6 speed seems to be mostly reliable, but some people have issues with them. The early 9 speeds had a lot of refinement issues and some failures but overall I don't think the failure rate was that high and I really haven't seen any complaints since the refresh.

Take your time, read the vehicle, monitor the ATF temps and I think it will last a long time as a tow vehicle.

Also humorous you mention TFL and Truck King, those are the only two channels I religiously watch.
 
  • Like
Reactions: awd.nv

·
Registered
2021 EX-L
Joined
·
24 Posts
Hello,

My curiosity in this question is based on towing with my '16 Touring AWD model w/9spd and factory towing package. I moved up to a Geo Pro 19BH travel trailer that loaded is about 4000-4300lbs I suspect. Dry weight is 3200lbs and my measured loaded tongue weight is 425-450lbs using a weigh safe scale. I need to get it weighed on our way to a trip soon. My Pilot has 94k miles and still going strong, do fluid changes much sooner than required since towing.

With a headwind I am at 55mph and just under 4000rpm in 4th gear. This along with the small fuel tank prompted me to look into upgrading my tow vehicle except, ya know I just really love this thing and spending +$50k on a mid spec 4x4 half ton truck seems like a ton of money. Almost rather just go 3/4 ton over 1/2 ton with these prices but that is just getting too deep into the rabbit hole. I really would like to be payment free. If the Pilot v6 can handle sustained 4000rpm trips then really I can deal with 55mph.

This really is a worst case scenario, for good portions of all my trips so far I can do 5th gear and 62-65mph at less than 3500rpm. There have been trips this winter though where I was at 55mph and that 3900rpm range for about 100miles at a time. I was not too worried then considering ambient temps were 40-50F. Come summer and 100F days, that is my concern.

I have yet to tow in the hot summer months but so far trans and water temps are great. Last trip ambient was in the 84F range with temps in great shape. I just do not know what the engine oil temp is so that is the concern with sustained 4000rpm on a non-high performance vehicle.

The 9 speed seems less of a concern if oil temps are good. It seems the version used in the Pilot is rated for 450ft lb torque which seems solid for the Pilot.

Thanks
It sounds like you're doing everything possible to mitigate any failures with the Pilot i.e. watching your temps, slowing way down, checking your weight. I agree with you about the truck prices - it would certainly be a lot more relaxing towing that thing with a 3/4 ton. But good lord it's almost another mortgage payment these days. I'm in the camp of sticking with the Pilot and keeping it serviced at least for a couple of years. I'd say it's safe to assume since you're really using it on the higher end of its capabilities, it may not last forever. Like others have said I think the J series is up to the task. I'd be more concerned about the driveline and diffs. But if that gets you a couple of years of paid-off service it pays for itself. Would love to hear an update in a year or two on how it's holding up after several thousand miles of towing that large trailer. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Honestly, I have never really heard of catastrophic J series engine failure and people have been towing heavy and working them hard in performance cars and SUVs for 25-30 years now. IMO it is a fantastic engine when maintained properly. Does it have quirks, sure. VCM has caused some top end rebuilds but it's easily deactivated. The VTEC solenoid gasket can eventually leak. The early DI versions had injector issues and a few people have had carbon buildup on the intake valves. But overall, the engine is fantastic and loves to rev and with VCM deactivated and a quality oil and filter being used I have no doubt the engine will be fine.

The transmissions have been a weak point. The early 5 speeds were absolute junk. In the gen 1.5 refresh and gen 2 they fixed the issues and it's apparently very reliable. The 6 speed seems to be mostly reliable, but some people have issues with them. The early 9 speeds had a lot of refinement issues and some failures but overall I don't think the failure rate was that high and I really haven't seen any complaints since the refresh.

Take your time, read the vehicle, monitor the ATF temps and I think it will last a long time as a tow vehicle.

Also humorous you mention TFL and Truck King, those are the only two channels I religiously watch.
Man I love both of those youtube channels!! Yeah I guess my main concern was not trying to abuse my Pilot and being the first one to tow anything in my family, I just had no one of knowledge to talk to this about. My only reference is a friend of mine with a Tundra which seemed like a night and day difference towing. Where I was doing 55mph he was able to stick to 70mph with a 26ft. Coleman travel trailer. Granted, on the 110 mile trip only got him to the campgrounds about 10-15mins faster.

I figure since I modded the Pilot so much that I need to keep her till she bites the dust and I do not want that to be a year or two later. I think I will be ok in the end and keep doing what I am doing.

It sounds like you're doing everything possible to mitigate any failures with the Pilot i.e. watching your temps, slowing way down, checking your weight. I agree with you about the truck prices - it would certainly be a lot more relaxing towing that thing with a 3/4 ton. But good lord it's almost another mortgage payment these days. I'm in the camp of sticking with the Pilot and keeping it serviced at least for a couple of years. I'd say it's safe to assume since you're really using it on the higher end of its capabilities, it may not last forever. Like others have said I think the J series is up to the task. I'd be more concerned about the driveline and diffs. But if that gets you a couple of years of paid-off service it pays for itself. Would love to hear an update in a year or two on how it's holding up after several thousand miles of towing that large trailer. Good luck!
Thanks, I am thinking the same about the Pilot at this point plus those new trucks man, not cheap by any means. The Pilot spoiled us with tech and it would suck stepping down in tech on the road trip/towing vehicle.

I will update after the first few summer trips. Our next trip in a few weeks should be hot already, well at least over 90F. I am most interested to see how the Pilot does over +100F weather as we drive to cooler locations for camp.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top